ROSWELL, Ga. — A secret online account allegedly filled with photos of naked students has apparently been passed around Roswell High School – and one teacher is worried that the school isn’t doing enough to stop it.
“I was horrified. And young people just don’t know how this could blow up in their face,” said the teacher, who asked to remain anonymous. “I have not seen any punishments thus far.”
The teacher said they’ve known about the Dropbox account for two weeks. Dropbox is a free online tool used to store and share images, videos and other content.
A spokesperson for Fulton County Schools said the district is aware of the allegations they characterized as a "rumor."
In a statement from the district, officials said several students have been disciplined after admitting involvement in accessing and sharing images through the account. However, the statement said during the course of their investigation, they learned that the account itself has been disabled. That, officials said, has limited investigators' ability to determine what types of images were being shared, and whether they involved current or past Roswell High School students.
As to whether athletes were the account's primary users, school officials said, "there is no truth to the rumor."
A Dropbox spokesperson also confirmed they are involved in the investigation and issued the following statement:
“Child exploitation is a horrific crime and whenever we are alerted to suspected child exploitation imagery, we act quickly to investigate it and take it down.”
Since the alleged activity happened off campus, Fulton County Schools said they have asked the Roswell Police Department to get involved. Criminal charges could follow if the photos appear to be that of underage teens.
11Alive's Ryan Kruger spoke to attorney Randy Kessler about what kind of punishment could come. Kessler said possession of child pornography carries a five-year sentence. If investigators find the students were distributing the images, Kessler said that could add to the charges.
He warned sometimes the first person punished could get it worse than others, because judges and prosecutors may want to send a message.
"Right now they're trying to set a lesson and not throw the book at people," he explained. "But sooner or later, some prosecutor is gonna make an example and say this particular defendant or this particular person, I want the world to know about this so they don't do it anymore."
But the teacher 11Alive spoke with said she is worried that the account did hold child pornography. She said she was so upset about the allegations that she talked to a therapist about it and urges parents and school officials to fully investigate the matter.
“When the Super Bowl was here, we had special training around sex trafficking, and this is basically the same thing. But no one is talking about this,” she said. “So what kind of hypocrites does this make us?”
Even though she’s scared to speak out, the teacher believes the students behind the shared online account should be held accountable.
“It is a criminal act, and a message needs to be sent that, just because you live in a certain area, you can put your hands over your eyes about a crime,” she stated.
In their statement, Fulton County Schools said it expects students to "exhibit better judgment and to show more respect for others."
"We want to reinforce to students and the community that accessing or sharing inappropriate images, whether intentional or accidental, can carry disciplinary consequences as well as possible criminal charges," the statement concluded.